A Small Molecule Stabilizes the Disordered Native State of the Alzheimer's Aβ Peptide.
The stabilization of native states of proteins is a powerful drug discovery strategy. It is still unclear, however, whether this approach can be applied to intrinsically disordered proteins. Here, we report a small molecule that stabilizes the native state of the Aβ42 peptide, an intrinsically disordered protein fragment associated with Alzheimer's disease. We show that this stabilization takes place by a disordered binding mechanism, in which both the small molecule and the Aβ42 peptide remain disordered. This disordered binding mechanism involves enthalpically favorable local π-stacking interactions coupled with entropically advantageous global effects. These results indicate that small molecules can stabilize disordered proteins in their native states through transient non-specific interactions that provide enthalpic gain while simultaneously increasing the conformational entropy of the proteins.
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